September 27, 2022

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Small business owner paid ex-employee with 91,000 pennies. That is retaliation, feds declare in lawsuit.

3 min read

After a previous personnel of A Alright Walker Autoworks submitted a criticism with state labor regulators in 2021 accusing the proprietor of failing to situation his ultimate paycheck of $915, he received an unwelcome shock: a mountain of 91,000 pennies, lined in oil, dumped in his driveway. 

But the worker, Andreas Flaten, may be possessing the very last giggle. The U.S. Department of Labor has submitted a lawsuit towards the Peachtree, Ga-based car restore store and proprietor Miles Walker just after choosing that the stunt amounted to retaliation. 

According to the government’s grievance, Walker made a decision to pay Flaten in pennies within hrs of understanding that he had contacted regulators around his lacking paycheck.

“How can you make this man understand what a disgusting case in point of a human remaining he is…,” Walker mentioned, the Labor Division alleged in the match. “[Y]ou know what? I’ve got a lot of pennies I’l use them.”

A worker participating with the Labor Division is safeguarded under federal legislation, according to the company. “Staff are entitled to get details about their rights in the place of work and attain the wages they gained devoid of panic of harassment or intimidation,” an official with the agency’s wage and hour division in Atlanta mentioned in a statement Wednesday. 

The Labor Department also determined that Walker had illegally deprived other workers at the store of time beyond regulation pay back, as very well as failing to maintain right spend and function data. It is asking a U.S. district court docket in Georgia to bar the defendants from any foreseeable future breaches of the Honest Labor Standards Act, together with retaliation and overtime violations.

A statement posted on A Alright Walker Autoworks’ web-site, labeled “pennies,” explained the company questioned the Labor Division if it was allowed to shell out Flaten “in dollars of any denomination” and that the agency did not supply unique advice (The business taken out the statement from its web-site on Friday.) The repair store also denied putting oil on the coins. 

“There had been specifically 100,003 pennies, 750 dimes, 2 quarters, a nickel, and his pay stub in the pile,” the put up states. “That is a large amount more than what we have been lawfully obligated to give him. Why so significantly much more? We figured that he would have had adequate intelligence to just have the pennies counted and exchanged.”

An worker of the auto store declined to comment and mentioned she did not know how to speak to Walker.

Following the Labor Division submitted its complaint, Flaten instructed Business enterprise Insider he would encourage other employees who really feel they are wrongly denied their wages to file a criticism.

“They absolutely should really not be fearful to attain out,” he informed the news outlet. “Communicate up. You should not be silent about it. For the reason that if you happen to be silent about it, it can be just heading to continue on to transpire to you and everybody else.”

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